Archive for the garden to visit Category

Bucks County PA Tour

Posted in garden to visit, native plants, Shade Perennials, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The bluebell meadow at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania (PA) USA, is at its peak right now.

My brother, Nick Walker, and his company, Cottage Industries in Wayne, Pennsylvania, did such a wonderful job on our recent home remodeling that Michael and I thought it would be fun to take him and his wife to dinner.  He lives in Stockton, New Jersey, near New Hope, Pennsylvania, giving us a great excuse to spend the night in the beautiful Bucks County area and visit local restaurants and garden related venues.  I know readers often follow in our footsteps so if you have any questions please email.

Nursery News:  The 2017 Mini Hosta Catalogue is on line, and we are taking orders for pick up and mail order, click here.  If you want to shop, email for an appointment or come to our third open house sale featuring hostas, mini hostas, ferns, hardy geraniums, and epimediums, on Saturday, May 6, from 10 am to 3 pm (checks and cash only).  Customers will get details in an email.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Our first stop was the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a 134 acre sanctuary for native plants with 3.5 miles of trails through various habitats.  This is another view of the breath-taking bluebell meadow, featuring Virginia bluebells, mayapples, twinleaf, and Celandine poppy.

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Squirrel-corn and Celandine poppy at Bowman’s Hill.

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Quaker-ladies

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red trillium and squirrel-corn

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The real marsh-marigold, Caltha palustris, a PA native plant.  Please do not confuse this with lesser celandine, Ranuculus ficaria, which is an extremely destructive, non-native, invasive plant on the PA banned plant list, click here.

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Canada mayapple

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toadshade

yellow or eastern trout-lily, Erythronium americanum

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After a few hours at Bowman’s Hill, including some shopping in their extensive native plant nursery, we walked around the scenic town of New Hope, PA, which is right on the banks of the Delaware River.  Many of the buildings date from the 18th century.

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We ate lunch in New Hope at Nektar, a small plates restaurant with amazing views of the river and town.  We liked it so much we went back for dinner.

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We spent the night at the Inn at Bowman’s Hill, run by charming innkeepers Mike and Louisa.

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The next morning we walked from the inn to Bowman’s Hill Tower, built in 1930 to honor General George Washington and the troops stationed near there during the American Revolution.

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The tower has spectacular views of New Hope and the Delaware River.  Unfortunately it was not open so we had to look through the woods to the river.

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Next we were off to Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, a 32 acre property with a nursery and very unique and extensive gardens.

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Sweeps of ‘Sagae’ hosta, variegated Solomon’s seal, ‘Lilafee’ epimedium, and cimicifuga near the Japanese garden.

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The Paxson Hill display gardens include this full scale, underground hobbit house.

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After a delicious lunch at the Stockton New Jersey Farmer’s Market, it was back to work at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Drifts of Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

colesbourne-lake-2-10-2017-5-16-18-amA drift of snowdrops covers the hill above the extraordinarily colored lake at Colesbourne Park.  The amazing blue is caused by light reflecting off naturally deposited clay in the water.  It is worth visiting just to see it.

Michael and I just returned from a two week snowdrop trip to England.  For six days we were the guests of Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.   Colesbourne has been called England’s greatest snowdrop garden, and wandering through the grounds for six days I can see why.  First, the 2,500 acre setting is absolutely magnificent, including the lake pictured above, a church dating back to 1067, and a charming village with a delightful pub, the Colesbourne Inn, serving delicious food.

Nursery News:  The 2017 Winter Interest Plant Catalogue still has some plants available.  We are also taking orders for edgeworthias: $69 for the 3 gallon size.  Our first sale featuring hellebores will be Saturday, March 25, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers will get details in an email.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Galanthus 'Margaret Owen'This lovely, very large snowdrop ‘Margaret Owen’ is a fitting tribute to its namesake, a renowned galanthophile.

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Galanthus 'Rodmarton'The double snowdrop ‘Rodmarton’ originated at the nearby Rodmarton Manor, an arts and crafts house featuring its own wonderful snowdrop collection.

Second, you can see many rare and unusual snowdrops, like ‘Margaret Owen’ and ‘Rodmarton’ above, in large clumps instead of singly or in small groups.  Colesbourne Park has over 250 varieties in its collection, and they work hard to develop each into a large stand. 

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Sir Henry Elwes stands in a field of  ‘S. Arnott’ as he entertains a guided tour with tales of Colesbourne and its snowdrops.

Third, if you are lucky enough to go on a tour, you will be taken around by Sir Henry Elwes who grew up at Colesbourne and knows all 2,500 acres intimately.  His great-grandfather was Henry John Elwes, the famous Victorian plant explorer who discovered his namesake snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in Turkey in 1874.  During the tour, Sir Henry will tell you about snowdrops, but he will also regale you with fascinating stories about Colesbourne itself.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'A close up of ‘S. Arnott’, called the desert island snowdrop because if galanthophiles could have just one, this would be it!

But for me, the most amazing thing about Colesbourne is the huge drifts of some of the more well known cultivars of snowdrops.  As I have said before, I am not interested in having a collection of hundreds of little groups of rare snowdrops.  I want plants with interesting leaves and habits as well as flowers, that are vigorous and will multiply into large clumps fairly quickly.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’, a Greatorex double snowdrop, which has been intentionally divided and spread out at Colesbourne.

When Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes took over Colesbourne Park, intervening generations had not tended John Henry Elwes’s collections and many had been sold.  However, some snowdrops remained, and Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn developed the current Colesbourne snowdrop display in the last 25 years.  Colesbourne showed me what you could do with a snowdrop collection and why snowdrops like ‘S. Arnott’ and the others pictured below are so widely grown.  It was a revelation.

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Galanthus 'Titania'‘Titania’ en masse

Here are some more snowdrops that have been systematically divided to form huge stands at Colesbourne:

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’, a large and vigorous single snowdrop, called “one of the foundation stones of many collections” by Matt Bishop’s snowdrop book.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ quickly turns into a good sized patch.

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Galanthus 'Galatea'‘Galatea’ drifts

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ is my favorite of the many Greatorex doubles and also the most widely grown.

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Galanthus 'Ophelia'‘Ophelia’ as far as the eye can see.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'Early-blooming ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, another much admired classic called a “plant of great quality” by the Bishop book.

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Galanthus 'Mrs. Macnamara'A stand of ‘Mrs. Macnamara’

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’, also a Greatorex double

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Galanthus 'Hippolyta'‘Hippolyta’ spread far and wide.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusGalanthus plicatus ‘Colossus’, an early vigorous snowdrop with a beautiful habit and elegant leaves.

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatusStands of ‘Colossus’

I visited some other snowdrop venues that had sweeping drifts but none with the variety found at Colesbourne.  Painswick Rococo Garden is the place where the famous snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’ was first selected in the 1860s.  There are amazing drifts of ‘Atkinsii’, Galanthus nivalis, and ‘Flore Pleno’ there:

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' with Galanthus 'Flore PlenoThe very tall and stately ‘Atkinsii’ in the back with ‘Flore Pleno’ in the front at Painswick.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A hillside of ‘Atkinsii’ at Painswick.
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Welford Park is awe-inspiring for sheer numbers of snowdrops, which grow in sheets through out their woods.  All of the plants are Galanthus nivalis:
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-7-26-017Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with winter aconite.
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-50-02-amCommon snowdrops at Welford Park
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galanthus-nivalis-welford-park-2-5-2017-6-40-38-amIt looks like it just snowed in the woods at Welford Park.

Thank you so much to Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes for opening their world, both snowdrop and otherwise, to two very grateful visitors from across the pond.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Edgeworthia Update

Posted in garden to visit, How to, my garden, Shade Shrubs, winter interest with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Edgeworthia chrysanthaThis is still the best photo that I have of an edgeworthia in bloom despite dozens of photos taken since my 2012 blog post.  Edgeworthias without leaves are very hard to capture in a photograph.  Photo taken by Rhoda Maurer and used with the permission of the Scott Arboretum.  Scott Arboretum, March 2006

On December 10, 2012, I wrote an article for my blog entitled “A Shrub for all Seasons: Edgeworthia”, click here to read it.  This post is my fifth most viewed of all posts since I started my blog in November of 2010.  That’s saying a lot as my blog is just about to reach 2 million views!  There are also 137 comments and responses on the post from readers all over the US and abroad.  Readers are so interested in edgeworthias that I decided it was time to cover the topic again. 

And my wholesale supplier just notified me that they will actually have edgeworthias in stock this spring so I can satisfy the demand that is usually created by showing photos of this elegant and unusual shrub.  Send an email if you want to reserve one, sorry no mail order.

Nursery News:  The 2017 Winter Interest Plant Catalogue has been emailed to all local customers.  Please email me at carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net if you would like me to send it to you.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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edgeworthia-chrysantha-3-6-2016-9-44-03-pmThis edgeworthia in bloom won a blue ribbon in March of 2016 at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the world’s largest indoor flower show.  Like the first photo, it shows the lovely rounded habit that can be achieved through judicious pruning and a part sun location.

Four years after my first post, edgeworthias are still very rare, and available cultural information remains sparse.  In this post, I will let you know what I have learned in the last four years, but keep in mind that my observations are hardly scientific.  I am not going to repeat anything in my previous post so if you are new to this plant, I suggest you read that article first, including the comments, click here.

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edgeworthia-chrysantha-3-21-2016-6-39-29-pmThe beautiful and wonderfully fragrant flowers of edgeworthia.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, March 2016

First and foremost, I can say with even more assurance than in 2012 that edgeworthias are hardy in southeastern Pennsylvania, US, and surrounding areas.  We are in USDA hardiness zone 7 with an average annual minimum temperature of 0 to 10 degrees F (-17.8 to -12.2 C).  In January of 2014, the weather for the suburbs of Philadelphia, where Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is located, repeatedly dipped into this range and below.  In spring of 2014, all the established edgeworthias that I have been following remained alive and are still thriving.  However, most of them did not bloom that spring as the buds were frozen.  Some had stem damage but have since recovered robustly.  To put this in perspective though, many shrubs with borderline hardiness for our area died that winter.

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe buds, tropical looking leaves, and cinnamon red stems of edgeworthia in fall.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 2015

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe buds in winter are my favorite phase of edgeworthia although it is lovely 365 days a year.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, January 2015

The only other new hardiness information I have comes from Andrew Bunting, the former Curator of Plants at the Scott Arboretum and now Assistant Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Andrew points out that there are actually two species of edgeworthia, E. chrysantha and E. papyrifera.   Although they are sometimes treated as synonymous, Andrew thinks they are distinct species.  In his experience, E. papyrifera is much weaker in growth than E. chrysantha.  Commenters on my first post agree with Andrew’s assessment.  The orange-flowered edgeworthia ‘Akebono’ is apparently a cultivar of E. papyrifera, although some sources disagree.  My wholesale supplier doesn’t carry it because it hasn’t proved hardy for them.  

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Edgeworthia at ScottThis photo shows a very large edgeworthia in bud in the Winter Garden at the Scott Arboretum.  The location faces south in an exposed but part shade area.  March 2013

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Edgeworthia Scott Arboretum Fall 2014The same edgeworthia in September 2014.

What else have I learned?  Sources generally describe edgeworthia’s ultimate height and width as much smaller than is actually the case.  For example, my favorite source for plant information, Missouri Botanic Garden lists the height and width as 4′ by 6′.  Edgeworthias in our area grown in part shade grow to a minimum of 6′ by 6′, and the one at the Scott Arboretum in the photos above is probably 8′ by 8′.  If they are grown in a sunnier spot, they are shorter and more compact but still quite large.  If you read the reader comments on my first post, which are a great source for information about edgewothias in different locations and climates, many people have been surprised by the size of their edgeworthia and have had to prune it drastically or move it.  Luckily, it responds well to their pruning (I have never pruned mine).

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edgeworthia-chrysantha-11-18-2016-2-29-43-pmMy unpruned edgeworthia is much larger than planned and is currently trying to eat my lion’s head Japanese maple.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 18, 2016

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaEdgeworthia leaves turn yellow in the fall and sporadically through out the year.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 7, 2015

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaThe leaves also droop when the weather turns cold.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, November 23, 2015

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edgeworthia-chrysantha-11-6-2016-3-58-01-pmEdgeworthias in sunnier locations go through the fall transformation earlier and have a longer ugly duckling stage before the exquisite buds emerge from the yellow, droopy leaves.  Scott Arboretum, November 6, 2016.

It is normal for the old leaves on edgeworthias to turn yellow and fall off through out the season.  This has been a cause for concern for many readers, but it is something that can be ignored.  In the fall all the leaves droop, turn yellow, and fall off unveiling the beautiful silver buds.  The leaves also droop when it is really hot out.  I think this is a natural protective measure in response to the temperature and not necessarily a sign that supplemental water is required.  Other plants in my garden do this, ligularias come to mind.  I have never watered my edgeworthia, even during the extended drought and high temperatures this past summer and fall.  It is quite healthy.

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Edgeworthia Scott Arboretum Fall 2014A group of three edgeworthias behind the Scott Arboretum offices on the Swarthmore College campus.  September 2014

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edgeworthia-chrysantha-1-18-2017-2-11-10-amThe same group in January 2017.  I feel like the edgeworthias on the Swarthmore campus are old friends as I visit them so often.  If you are in this area and want to see edgeworthia specimens in a  variety of cultural conditions, you should visit the Scott Arboretum.
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Two final cultural pointers:  I have concluded that edgeworthias grow best in part sun to part shade in an east-facing location.  However, several southern gardeners have written in that they grow it in full sun, and it thrives.  No one has mentioned success in full shade.  Also, my original edgeworthia was planted quite close to two gigantic black walnuts.  Although it has never died completely, it has slowly declined to the point where it is almost nonexistent.  This is not scientific evidence of susceptibility to walnut toxicity, but I would recommend avoiding walnuts when siting edgeworthia.

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Edgeworthia Chanticleer Fall 2014Chanticleer also has a nice specimen in the courtyard near the swimming pool.  October 2014
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Edgeworthia Cresson Garden Fall 2014A large specimen in Charles Cresson’s garden.  October 2014

Let’s keep this conversation going.  If you are growing edgeworthia, please leave a comment describing your experience with it, especially if you are north of the Delaware Valley area.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Native Fall Color at Longwood Gardens

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, garden to visit, green gardening, native plants, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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A view across the lake of the color in Peirce’s Woods, an area of native plants.

We have been having one of the most beautiful falls that I can remember.  Every day is bright and sunny, between 50 and 60 degrees F (10 to 15.6 degrees C) except when we have just the right amount of rain. The fall color on trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials is spectacular.  I am blessed to live in an area where I can enjoy one of nature’s most majestic shows just by walking outside my door.  So I decided to post photos for gardeners in the US and abroad who don’t experience this amazing prelude to winter.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for 2016.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops and/or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, native to PA.

All but two of these photos were taken during a visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US, on November 2.  Every plant is native to the US and most to Pennsylvania (PA), which is part of the mid-Atlantic.  A similar color riot is still going on today, November 12, in my own PA garden.

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Pitcher plants, Saracenia, native to PA, even the planters near Peirce’s Woods are filled with natives. 

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Hydrangea quercifolia

One of my top five shrubs: oakleaf hydrangea, H. quercifolia, and fall color is a big part of that along with gorgeous flowers, tropical-looking leaves, peeling cinnamon bark, and its status as a native albeit slightly south of PA.

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Hydrangea quercifolia

The words “jewel-like color” were made for oakleaf hydrangea. 

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Cornus florida

Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, native to PA, one of the best small trees for fall color not to mention spectacular flowers and fruit as well as a unique and elegant habit.  This is a young specimen.

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Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye, Aesculus parviflora, a PA native with beautiful flowers in the late spring.  Great for creating a grove in dense shade and dry soil.

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Fothergilla gardenii

Fothergilla, F. gardenii, native just south of PA, provides a mix of oranges, reds, and yellows that lasts a long time.  In the spring it sports lovely fragrant flowers.

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Looking across the lake towards Peirce’s Woods, the red tree to the left of center is a red maple, Acer rubrum, and the smaller peachy tree to the right is sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum.
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Acer rubrum
Red maple is a shade tree native to PA.  It colors early so I was surprised to find it still stealing the show.  Here is a view from the other side looking down at the lake.
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Oxydendrum arboreum
Sourwood, also known as dead man’s fingers due to the unusual habit of its flowers, is a smaller flowering tree native to PA with many ornamental attributes including unbelievable fall color.
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Taxodium distichum 'Prarie Sentinel'‘Prairie Sentinel’ pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens, has a more upright habit than its cousin the bald cypress and is native just south of PA.
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Acer saccharum
For all-round large shade tree, I would nominate the sugar maple, Acer saccharum, native to PA.  Photos don’t do its color justice, and large specimens have a habit that is purely regal.  This one is a youngster.
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Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'

I had to throw in this photo from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens of ‘Hartlage Wine’ allspice, Calycanthus raulstonii.  Top five shrubs again with absolutely gorgeous, bright yellow fall color; long-lasting, exquisite, large red flowers; and big, shiny, smooth blue-green leaves.  It is a native hybrid.

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Also from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, another favorite tree native to PA, yellowwood, Cladrastis kentukea.

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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A glimpse through the moon gate into the English-style borders at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.

Last post I promised you a tour of the sunny part of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA.  My husband and I spent four days this summer visiting Acadia National Park and public and private gardens on Mt. Desert Island. 

To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  For photos of Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor, click here.  My last post toured the Chinese-inspired woodland of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: click here to see the photos.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for 2016.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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The bottle gate in the previous post, which was Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s  preferred entrance to the flower garden, is just visible in the back of this photo.  Visitors pass through it from the woodland side into an oval garden surrounding a reflecting pool with the enormous perennial beds spreading out to the north.

As mentioned previously, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  It is owned by David Rockefeller and was originally created between 1926 and 1930 by the well known garden designer Beatrix Farrand and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David’s mother and the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.   Reservations are required to visit, and tickets, which go on sale May 31, are very limited.

Our visit to the sunny flower borders is captured in the photos below, enjoy.

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After wandering through the woods, the sunny gardens are a startling contrast.  Although massive, they are hidden from the shady side by walls and have the feel of a secret garden. 

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eyrieAccording to landscape historian Patrick Chasse, the flower gardens were originally planned as cutting gardens for the Eyrie (photo above), the Rockefeller’s 100-room mansion, which was later torn down.   Plantings were calculated by the number of rooms, their colors, and the number of vases to be filled.  The whole area was flowers with minor access paths for servants.  

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Looking north towards the moon gate.  The lawn was added in 1936 when the maintenance of the flowers-only garden became too much even for the Rockefellers. 

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Map of the gardens from the brochure provided.  The lawn area is bordered by a rectangular gravel path.  Outside that path is a wide flower border split by a low rectangular granite wall and again enclosed on the outside by gravel paths, which front even wider borders extending out to the walls enclosing the whole garden.

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View of the northern end of the gardens.  Even with the addition of the lawn, the remaining gardens are huge.  They are also gorgeous and impeccably maintained.

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View of the southern end of the gardens.

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You can see the low granite wall splitting the flower bed between the gravel paths.  It is covered with clematis and other blooming vines.
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The very wide gardens on the east side in front of the pink Chinese wall.
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Some annuals are used but the plants are mostly perennials.
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img_1652We exited the garden into the serene Maine woods that envelope it, dazzled by the amazing flower borders we saw.

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden Part One

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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The gravel path from the parking lot leads to the formal entrance to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, but the grandeur of this amazing site in the Maine woods already surrounds you.

In July, my husband Michael and I spent four very full days on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA, visiting public and private gardens and Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  For photos of Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor, click here.  Today’s post covers our visit to the woodland of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.  The next post will cover the perennial gardens.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for 2016.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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The formal gardens are enclosed by rose-hued walls topped by gold tiles, building materials reserved for the use of Chinese emperors.  Many of the tiles were actually salvaged from the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  It is owned by David Rockefeller and was originally created between 1926 and 1930 by the well known garden designer Beatrix Farrand (for more information on Farrand, click here) and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David’s mother and the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 

We visited the garden because our Mt. Desert host, friend, and customer, Charlotte F., said it was a must and encouraged us to book reservations as soon as they became available on May 31.  The garden is only open one day a week (Thursday this year) in late July, August, and early September and advance reservations are required, and their availability is intentionally very limited.  By the time we visited in the third week of July all reservations were sold out.

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Looking back at the entrance from inside what Abby Rockefeller called the Chinese Garden.  The rams are 14th to 15th century Yi Dynasty, Korea.

We had a lot of plans for our Acadia visit and didn’t research the Rockefeller Garden in advance so were very surprised by what we found—an ancient Chinese-inspired garden filled with statuary dating as far back as the 5th century in the middle of the Maine woods!  As explained by Patrick Chasse in a lecture at the New York Botanical Gardens, the Rockefellers visited Asia for three months in 1921.  They were entranced by the architecture of the Forbidden City in Beijing and decided to build a garden at their Seal Harbor home incorporating ancient Chinese design elements, including building materials, walls, gates, a north-south axis, and statuary, among others.

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The Spirit Path runs the length of the woodland section of the garden on a north-south axis parallel to the walls surrounding the flower garden. Spirit Paths were a  traditional feature of imperial Chinese tombs.  The path is lined with pairs of imposing granite statues from 14th and 15th century Korea, which the Rockefellers purchased from a dealer in antiquities in Japan.

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A close up of one of the granite statues along the Spirit Path.

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A man made granite pool along the Spirit Path topped by a “snow” lantern, traditionally made from snow and lit from within.  This one is granite from 17th to 18th century Korea.

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The native woodland plants surrounding the carefully placed antiquities, walls, paths, and rocks are beautiful.
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A narrow rill carefully outlined in moss
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This path leads to a 17th century seated monk from the Edo period in Japan and carved from volcanic rock.
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The walled flower garden appears like a parallel universe visible through several gates giving access to it from various parts of the woodland.
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The moon gate looks into the northern end of the flower garden.
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The bottle gate at the southern end of the gardens was the gate through which Abby Aldrich Rockefeller liked to take her guests.   We will enter it in the next post!

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Asticou Azalea and Thuya Gardens on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Acadia Delphinium and MonardaThere is no more iconic Maine garden perennial than delphiniums in July.

My husband Michael and I recently spent four very full days on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA, visiting public and private gardens and Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  Today’s post highlights two of those gardens: Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-09-43 PMAsticou Pond in Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Asticou and Thuya were both designed and built in 1956 by Charles Savage, a lifelong resident of Northeast Harbor.  He was inspired by his desire to preserve the plants in the Bar Harbor garden of Beatrix Farrand, who was forced to sell her property for financial reasons.   Savage moved all her larger plants to the Thuya and Asticou sites with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

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Beatrix Farrand is an absolutely fascinating person and figures prominently in the history of American landscape architecture.  She deserves a blog post of her own, but, briefly, she was born in 1872 and began studying landscape architecture in 1895.  She went on to design gardens at the White House, the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks, Princeton, Yale, and dozens of other prominent locations.  An early advocate for the use of native plants, Farrand was the only female member of the eleven founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  To read more about her, click here.

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Charles Savage studied Japanese gardening and was a lover of Maine native plants.  The garden he designed combines these two elements in a unique and interesting way.   The Asticou website explains Savage’s vision:

The Azalea Garden is styled after a Japanese stroll garden with many traditional Japanese design features adapted for the natural setting and vegetation of coastal Maine. A meandering circular path leads visitors through a succession of garden rooms that inspire serenity and reflection or bring to focus a particularly lovely vista. The garden’s design creates an illusion of space, of lakes and mountains and distant horizons.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-05-58 PMAsticou’s gravel paths are edged with bamboo, and native moss and ferns (and low bush blueberries) provide groundcover.

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Lilium canadense Ascitou GardensNative Canada lily in Asticou
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Wooden gates open to reveal the Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Thuya Garden is part of a 140 acre preserve given in trust to the residents of Mt. Desert Island by Joseph Curtis, a prominent Boston landscape architect who died in 1928.  Charles Savage was appointed trustee, and in 1956 he transformed what was then an orchard into the garden that exists today using plants acquired from Beatrix Farrand.  Unlike his Japanese-inspired Asticou garden, Thuya was designed as a semi-formal English garden in the Gertrude Jeykll style as interpreted by Farrand after many visits to England to learn from both Jeykll and William Robinson.
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Charles Savage and Augustus Phillips carved the gates at Thuya.
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The English style perennial borders at Thuya are gorgeous.
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Thuya also has beautiful rocky outcroppings surrounded by native plants.

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A final view of the delphiniums.

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There is more to come with a visit to the amazing Abby Alrich Rockefeller Garden plus photos from the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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